No, it's worse that that. Ever since I took delivery of my RS Aero, I have been totally ignoring her.
We have had so many good times together - and helped each other through a few bad times - for so many years and yet I just put her aside.
Yes it is true. Until Friday I hadn't sailed my Laser at all since that memorable day when my Laser and I crushed my friends in their Aeros on the last race of the day on May 17. Crushed!
Michael O'Brien from Seattle who has also been committing boat bigamy with a Laser and an RS Aero warned me. He said in a comment on A Tale of Two Boats …
"When you switch back to the Laser after sailing the Aero for a while, you will feel like you are driving a truck. The momentum and weight difference is dramatic."So I took my faithful but neglected old Laser over to Bristol last Friday to give here some attention and renew my relationship with her.
I wasn't sure what to expect.
But it felt good.
It felt familiar
It was fun, even exciting at times.
It wasn't like driving a truck at all.
Phew! I was seriously worried that sailing an RS Aero for a few weeks might have killed my passion for Laser sailing. Far from it. In fact it felt so good to be back in the Laser, almost as if my time in the Aero had re-energized my enthusiasm for the Laser. I guess I really am going to be a two boat sailor.
The next thing I was interested to explore was an initial answer to the question I asked myself in A Tale of Two Boats - would sailing an Aero help develop sailing skills that would also make be a better Laser sailor.
Sailing upwind in 6-8 knots I did notice three things…
- I was much more sensitive to weather helm. I think I had got used to sailing the Laser with a heavy helm - because I wasn't sailing the boat flat enough - that I had grown to tolerate it. The Aero is very light on the tiller and now I was more sensitive to when the Laser had weather helm and was naturally trying to reduce it.
- I was much more active in the boat - moving my upper body in and out a lot to balance the boat. Whether this was because I had got used to doing this in an Aero or whether it was in response to the extra sensitivity when the helm felt too heavy, I don't know. A Laser coach once told me that I am not active enough in the boat; I tended to lock my body in one position and hope that would work all the time. Sailing the Aero seems to have cured me of this fault in a Laser.
- My tacks seemed a lot smoother and under control compared to how they were before in the Laser. I really don't know why, because I don't really feel I am doing good tacks in the Aero yet. Perhaps I am really comparing my current Laser tacks to my current Aero tacks, but I don't think so. Or perhaps in struggling to get my Aero tacks right I have somehow indirectly made my Laser tacks seem easier.
On Sunday, I took my Laser out for a sail on Mount Hope Bay. I was expecting to be drifting around practicing my roll tacks, but almost as soon as I launched the wind picked up from under 5 mph to more like 17 gusting into the low 20s from the south-east.
I have nothing positive to report at all about how sailing the RS Aero may have helped my upwind technique in a Laser in stronger winds. In fact quite the reverse. Either I am not hiking hard enough in the Aero, or maybe the Aero hiking position is so different from how you hike in a Laser, that it's no real help when you go back to the Laser. Whatever the reason those two upwind miles felt like damn hard work.
I have a vague recollection that after dinner I fell asleep on the living room floor. This morning my back feels like it always feels when I go back to Laser sailing after too many weeks off. Sore.
Memo to self: the only way to keep fit enough to hike hard in a Laser is to do a lot of Laser sailing in heavier winds. Seriously.
But going back downwind, even though the wind had dropped a little, was pure pleasure.
I love my Laser
I love sailing on the bay.
I am a two boat sailor.